Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav introduced an amendment bill in Lok Sabha on Wednesday that seeks to bring clarity to the country’s forest conservation law and exempt certain categories of lands from its purview to fast-track strategic and security-related projects of national importance.
The bill was then sent to a joint committee of both houses for discussion. The committee consists of 19 Lok Sabha members, 10 Rajya Sabha members, and two members to be nominated by the Lok Sabha speaker.
According to the government, the bill seeks to clarify the scope of applicability of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, on various lands. It seeks to broaden the horizons of the Act, keeping in view India’s aim to increase forest cover for the creation of an additional 2.5–3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030.
It also proposes to exempt certain categories of lands from the purview of the Act to fast-track strategic and security-related projects of national importance, to provide access to small establishments and habitations on the sides of public roads and railways, and to encourage plantation on non-forest land.